Winter is now in full swing, and as temperatures continue to plummet, it's important to think about the well-being of your pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, or both, the harsh winter conditions can prove dangerous, even for critters with long-haired fur coats.
Just as humans can, pets can suffer from a number of health problems if exposed to the winter elements for prolonged periods of time. Pets that are either very young or very old are at risk for health problems such as dehydration and hypothermia. And while it might seem like keeping the animal indoors is the best fix, sometimes it involves a little bit more.
Here are some tips to keep your pets warm this winter:
Keep Them Insulated
Dogs and cats with thicker fur coats are often able to withstand and enjoy winter temperatures for longer periods of time. Pets with short hair, however, do not have the same protection from the elements and are at risk of exposure. While it might seem like just a cute accessory, outfitting a short-haired pet in a sweater or jacket might help them to stay warm when outside. After going inside from the snow, always pat your pet dry with a towel. Make sure all pet grooming happens to completion and that your pet is dry before going back outside again.
Beware of Rock Salt
While it may prevent your car from sliding off the road, rock salt can cause serious damage to the pads of paws, causing splits, cracks, and sores. Since it is recommended that owners walk their dogs at least once a day, encountering rock salt is typically inevitable. In order to prevent this from happening to your pet's paws, obtain winter boots or paw covers from your local store or veterinary practice.
Keep Them Fed and Hydrated
During the winter, animals tend to burn more energy trying to stay warm. Compensate by feeding them a little extra during the chilly season. Additionally, make sure their outdoor water bowls have not frozen and keep plenty of fresh water available to them.
When all else fails, refer to your local pet hospital and veterinary technician for tips, advice and general pet health care guidance. There are over 46 million households with dogs and 38 million households with cats -- ensuring that they all get the best pet health care possible during the winter months is of utmost importance!